Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Towns along the way...

this is an audio post - click to play

If you look at a map and follow the Western Trail northward, you will notice that it followed the leading edge of post civil war community establishment. The towns through which or around which the trail followed were not long established communities. Many were already present because they were on the route of other more westerly establishment. By the time the Western Trail was instituted, there had already been California bound cattle drives, cattle drives into Louisiana and the previously established cattle drives to other locales in Kansas and points further north. There was also already a westward flow of travelers and explorers headed for riches and adventure and the land of sunsets, but there were few established towns. The tensions between Mexico, Native Americans, and Texans (or for that matter Oklahomans and Kansans) would keep townships from being established west of the Western Trails for a few more years. Much of the Western Trail lay along a rough line of military forts built to protect early settlers from encroachment from Mexicans or Indians. I guess, what I am trying to say is that every town that lay in the path of the Western Trail was like a beacon for the trail. It was if each town offered some respite from the dangers of open land. At the same town, every town would come to be influenced by the trail.

With that in mind, I am beginning to post each day a link back to a wonderful internet resource, the Texas State Historical Association’ Handbook of Texas Online. I will post a link everyday to an entry regarding the location where the trail riders are spending the night. I believe the reader will get a better sense of how geography influenced this particular cattle drive and how this cattle drive influenced the establishment of these towns. I will add to those postings, any links that I think will give you a better feel for what the town was like in the latter half of the 19th century and what life is like today in the same area. If you have additional information, please feel free to post via the comments section.

Towns already visited:

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